Preparing for an accreditation survey

The CARF accreditation process starts with a provider’s commitment to continuous improvement and culminates with external review and recognition that the provider’s business and service practices meet international standards of quality — with all the steps in between focused on optimal outcomes for the persons the provider serves and sustained organizational success.

12 months

12 months before the survey

Decide which programs or services you want to get accredited and contact us to get started. A designated resource specialist will verify which standards manual you need and establish your free account in Customer Connect — our password-protected website where you can view up-to-date information about your application, survey information, and communications.

Create a committee at your organization to coordinate preparing for the survey. Encourage committee members to attend a CARF 101 training. Appoint a committee member as the CARF contact and facilitator of the committee. Have the committee carefully review the standards manual with respect to the programs your organization will seek to accredit. Inform the public through reports, newsletters, or news releases that your organization is preparing for international accreditation. Involve all levels of leadership and personnel in survey preparation.

9 months

9 months before the survey

Use the appropriate survey preparation workbook to conduct a presurvey to identify areas of weakness or nonconformance to the standards. Review the results of the presurvey and develop a plan of action based on new priorities. You can contact us as often as you need. Resource specialists are available to provide unlimited free technical assistance by telephone or email.

6 months

6 months before the survey

Complete and submit the survey application in Customer Connect at least three months before your preferred timeframe for the survey. Continue preparing your documentation, physical location(s), personnel, leadership, persons served, and other relevant stakeholders for the survey.

3–4 months

3–4 months before the survey

Review and update, as necessary, any materials you have to demonstrate conformance to the standards. Identify the person(s) in your organization who can answer questions about the standards or sections of the standards and the documents that show implementation of the standards. Also identify the individuals who might be interviewed by the survey team. Consult with your designated resource specialist for assistance as you determine your readiness and prepare for the survey.

1–2 months

1–2 months before the survey

You will receive a written notice about the specific survey dates at least 30 days before the survey. Download and display the Survey Notice Poster (available in Customer Connect. This informs interested individuals of when the survey will take place and the ways they may have input. Focus your efforts on the standards. To determine how you are progressing, review the areas of standards where you have been investing the most energy. Your organization may choose to conduct a second self-assessment depending on your progress and the comfort level of personnel.

3 weeks

3 weeks before the survey

The survey team coordinator will call the survey key contact at your organization to review the plans and logistics for the survey. Coordinate the availability of participants (persons served, personnel, board members, funders, leadership, and referral sources) that will be interviewed during the survey. It is better to have some flexibility when setting up interviews rather than a rigid schedule.

1 week

1 week before survey

Inform personnel of the general schedule for the survey. Set up a room for the survey team. Assemble or arrange for access to relevant files and other documents. Provide the survey team with an updated organization chart with names of personnel and their titles. The more organized your information and documentation is, the more time surveyors will have for interviews, observations, and providing valuable consultation.

Explore how we can help you

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CARF 101: Preparing for Successful Accreditation

Register for an in-depth overview of the accreditation process.

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Accreditation Sourcebook

A comprehensive overview of the CARF accreditation process. This guide includes information about the application process, survey scheduling, sample survey preparation timetables, and much more.

We are your partner for quality and success

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Value of accreditation

Our consultative peer-review process promotes active, dynamic planning focused on impact and outcomes. Learn how we can help your organization.

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Steps to accreditation

Accreditation takes time to prepare for and requires ongoing improvement efforts. We will be with you every step of the way.

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We’re here to help!

No matter where you are in your accreditation journey, we are here to answer your questions and provide assistance.